While I decided to do a couple of gift guides this year, there was one very good reason I started with gifts for cooks (or gifts for bakers)…I know what I use. And what stuff I’ve tried that has completely NOT been worth it (no, I didn’t include those on the list! haha).
Please note they’re categorized under the prices when I made this post! They might have gone down or up slightly since then.
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Gifts Under $15:
Adjustable Measuring Cup. This is a must-have for any cook or baker. Trust me. These and my adjustable measuring spoons save more time than probably anything else in my kitchen. The best part is the sliding: you fill in your 2/3 cup of sticky peanut butter, then just “press” it out. No more trying to get sticky stuff out of the measuring cup!
KitchenAid Silicone Spatula. I have a version of this and love it. One of the best features is that I can use on my nice cookware. My nice cookware cost a lot of money…and this spatula makes sure I don’t scrape it. I was skeptical at first, but when I started using these, I loved it. The design means you can also use it as a spoon for scooping food out of the dish, also.
Classic Wooden Rolling Pin. No, it’s not expensive. Contrary to popular opinion, a good rolling pin doesn’t need to be expensive. Some people swear by marble pins or fancy ones without handles…but my classic wooden rolling pin has worked well for me.
Pastry Cutter. This gift works for more than just pie dough (though that’s its major purpose). I also use it to crumble up graham crackers for crusts for cheesecakes and breaking up hard cheeses. This is a more speciality gift that your favorite cook or baker might not already have.
Flexible Plastic Cutting & Chopping Board Mats are a must for any kitchen. I have multiple ones in my kitchen and use them all the time. Honestly, I got my first ones as a free gift (with a purchase) and wasn’t impressed. Then I started using them. Wow! I can cut meat and toss the mat in the dishwasher. No getting my veggie board dirty. I can chop small amounts of chocolate or nuts and not need to dirty a large, bulky cutting board.
Mason Jar Measuring Cups. If you’re looking for cute combined with practical, these measuring cups are for you. While perhaps not quite as useful as the adjustable ones I featured, these more than make up for it in cuteness.
I chose this “Classics Easy-to-Clean Bamboo Cutting Board” not only because it’s cute, but because it includes the flexible cutting mats inside. I have 5 of these flexible, washable mats and use them all the time. Whether to cut meat or just because I’m not dirtying my large cutting board to chop up a bit of chocolate, these mats are amazing.
I like this “Roasting Laurel” for a couple of reasons. One is that the baking rack I specifically purchased for larger meat items I need off the bottom of the pan has a sticking problem. Another is that cleaning all those little wires is a completely pain. Enter this: clean easily. Even better, works with any pan!
Pyrex 3-Piece Glass Measuring Cups. I have this set and LOVE it. I particularly like the fact I can measure and mix in the same bowl when needed. The pour spout is another feature that I love. When I make roux-based sauce for one of my recipes, the large bowl is a must-have.
Marble Rolling Pin. If you’re looking for a practical gift that also looks nice, this rolling pin is for you. Some people swear by marble rolling pins (honestly, I like both wooden and marble). This rolling pin also comes with a stand in case they want to use it as part of their kitchen decor.
Pot Holders with Silicone Grip. While potholders might seem an odd gift, these are a great choice. First reason: it doesn’t matter if they already have pot-holders…a good cook can always use more. Second, these are wonderful! Not only do they have the “slip your hand in to hold” feature I love, the silicone makes it wonderful for all temperatures. Regular potholders only work up to a certain point…then the heat starts to seep through. I’ve yanked out 500° pans with silicone and been fine.
400 Sensational Cookies. If the baker in your life likes cookies, this is the book for them. I’ve learned so much from it. I not only got some great cookie recipes, but I learned exactly about how ingredients work and what substitutions you can (and can not) use. I transferred that information to make my bread perfect.
17-Piece KitchenAid Set. I chose this for a couple of reasons: the first being that I’ve had plenty of KitchenAid products and have never gotten a bad product. Another is that this is a general “good for every cook” gift. There will be something in here that they need, even if they don’t need every item.
Magic Bullet Blender. I LOVE this small machine. It’s small enough to store on the counter-top, but has so many uses. I not only make the classic smoothies, but I use it to make homemade dressing. I’ve been experimenting, and can tell you that homemade dressing is not only cheaper, but tastes better. It also comes with a small booklet with a ton of recipes.
The Bread Bible. If the baker in your life cooks bread at all, this is the book for them. It covers everything about bread…ingredients, how they work, and- most important- bread recipes that have been tried and tested.
Gifts over $100
If I could pick one kitchen appliance to give to every person in the world, it would be a KitchenAid. Seriously. This thing is amazing! In fact, I did an entire post comparing mixers: KitchenAid Mixer Review & Comparison Chart.
I didn’t even know they existed until my husband was watching me overheat my little hand mixer trying to mix a cookie dough. He sighed in exasperation, left the house, and returned an hour later with one of these. My life was changed.
I picked this particular model because it’s large enough for the average kitchen, but not as highly priced as the larger models. But, really, check out the many, many options: KitchenAid Stand Mixers on Amazon…and pick out what would be best for the cook/baker in your life!
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 7-1/4-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven. This Dutch oven is amazing! Cast-iron, but with an interior enamel. Works on stove-top and in the oven. Versatile. And comes in over 15 colors.